Inside The Box, a Muddled Surprise

Film is wayward, most critics agree, but for some it's interesting
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2009 12:11 PM CST

(Newser) – Critics are split on The Box, the new film from writer-director Richard Kelly, known for the much-loved Donnie Darko and the reviled Southland Tales. Some takes on the flick about a box with a mysterious, life-changing button:

  • Pass, writes writes Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. Don't "spend your time and money on Kelly's take" on the Richard Matheson short story. Just "watch the original Twilight Zone episode at home on YouTube."

  • Not so, writes Stephanie Zacharek for Salon. The '70s period piece "is deftly unshowy" and "builds suspense the old-fashioned way, sometimes seeming more like a movie actually made in the '70s than a contemporary one set in that era."
  • Interesting stuff, but that's not enough for Peter Travers. "What a shame that Kelly's pacing doesn't run as fast as his imagination," he writes in Rolling Stone.
  • It's not great, but it is a Richard Kelly film, writes Rene Rodriguez in the Miami Herald. "The Box is a mess, but it's a curiously haunting, intriguing, brain-tickling mess, and it delivers that Donnie Darko feeling in truckloads."